Below is the full interview
---------------------------- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ --------------------------
Dew Organic Clothing has donated an LBD made with bamboo silk and organic velvet cotton
The Raising for Rana event will mark the first anniversary of the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh. Taking place in London on April 24th, Raising for Rana will feature the premiere of not-for-profit documentary Tears In The Fabric and a charity auction. Here, Angela Pereira Alves, director of Dew Organic Clothing, explains why she is contributing to the event.
How did you get involved in the Raising for Rana event?
I was contacted by the organisers of the event a few months back. I was really pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to such an event. As I currently make bespoke garments, I decided to create a one-off piece that could be auctioned to raise the much-needed funds. It is an elegant and classy little black dress made with bamboo silk and organic velvet cotton, called the Ayla dress.
Many of the garments produced in Rana Plaza were for Western companies including budget brands. What are your thoughts on the ‘fast fashion’ culture in the UK?
My first thought is to shout out SLOW DOWN! Sales are becoming more and more frequent and new collections arrive in store every few months. So, it’s just out and yet almost already on sale… and so on. It leaves people feeling pressurised to get the latest trend and wanting more. The retailers are pushing the ‘we must
get it now before it goes’ trigger buttons. The cleverly orchestrated marketing campaigns are such a powerful tool, even using the study of psychology behind consumer behaviours. Consumers are made to become ‘emotional prisoners’ in this selfish cycle of consumerism.
What we need to understand also is that this fast fashion culture has only been made possible by the direct exploitation of thousands of people in developing countries and outrageous disrespect for our beautiful planet.
It leaves me wondering: how can our Western societies unanimously declare themselves the protectors of human rights when most of our economy is reliant on practices that fundamentally go against that very same idea?
How would you like to see the fashion industry learn from the Rana Plaza tragedy?
There is the need for more transparency and accountability in the industry. A year after the disaster, only ten out of the 28 Western brands associated with the Rana Plaza building have come forward and put together plans to give
compensation to the victims. And I believe most of them have done so purely because of campaigns and media pressure. Disasters in clothing factories are not isolated incidents due to the fact that there are no regulations in place to protect the workers.
I understand that there is a fine balance between promoting successful businesses, helping economies in developing countries and growing employment opportunities but nothing tells us that it cannot be done in a safer, more
respectful and ethical environment. For example, Safia Minney, founder of sustainable brand People Tree who
manufactures in Bangladesh, explains in her book Naked Fashion that small-scale measures could radically improve the livelihood of workers in Bangladesh with having only a small impact on the retail price.
Exploitation of any kind is unacceptable.
I would like to see that:
- companies ensure and demonstrate they are sourcing their products from ethical businesses which in turn will encourage manufacturers to implement better business practices;
- governments are playing a supportive role to businesses who decide to become more ethical; independent organisations are being chosen as advisers, assessors and supervisors of implementations of ethical practices in
collaboration with industry experts;
- and consumers developing an awareness of the issues and demanding better business ethics from brands.